2023 Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan

  Draft 2023 Flood Plan Now Available

The Draft 2023 Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan (2023 Flood Plan) is now available, and we would like the public’s input on how we will address flooding over the next 10 years.

Draft 2023 Flood Plan

Flood Risk Assessment and Economic Analysis

In-person & Online Open House Events

Community members are invited to attend one of four in-person open houses to meet the project team, ask questions, and share your comments for how the County will manage flooding in the future. There will not be a formal presentation at the open houses, so the public is invited to stop by anytime during the event.

Thursday, March 23, 5 to 7 p.m.
Burley Community Hall
14853 Burley Ave. SE.
Burley, WA 98322

Wednesday, March 29, 5 to 7 p.m.
Pierce County Central Maintenance Facility
4812 196th St. E.
Spanaway, WA 98387
Tuesday, March 28, 5 to 7 p.m.
McMillin Grange
12615 State Route 162 E.
Puyallup, WA 98374
Wednesday, April 12, 5 to 7 p.m.
Sprinker Recreation Center
14824 C St. S.
Tacoma, WA 98444

Those unable to attend an in-person opportunity can engage in this important conversation by visiting the online open house from March 20 through April 18, 2023. There will be an opportunity to complete a questionnaire for the Draft 2023 Flood Plan. 

Draft Environmental Impact Statement

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement, related to the 2023 Flood Plan, will be published on April 4, 2023, and its public comment period will be open through May 3, 2023.

The 2023 Flood Plan is anticipated to be reviewed and adopted by Pierce County Council by October 2023.

  About the Plan
Comprehensive Flooding Logo_2020Managing Flooding from Mount Rainier to Puget Sound 

From Mount Rainier to Puget Sound, Pierce County is home to diverse landscapes and natural resources. While we enjoy their beauty and benefits, these resources can also pose a threat to our communities during flood events.

What is the Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan? 

Pierce County is currently in the process of drafting our Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan (2023 Flood Plan). It addresses how Pierce County Planning and Public Works will provide various services to improve our community’s resilience to future flood hazards.

The 2023 Flood Plan will identify projects, policies, and programs that will reduce the impact of major flooding on the community to be implemented over a 10-year period.

The purpose of the 2023 Flood Plan continues to be to create a resilient community by:

  • Outlining the County’s local and federal obligations.
  • Recommending regional policies, programs, and projects that reduce risks to public health and safety.
  • Reducing damage to private improvements as well as critical infrastructure such as roads, highways, ferry landings, assisted living facilities, and bridges.
  • Reducing maintenance costs.
  • Improving habitat conditions while protecting and maintaining the regional economy.
2023 Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan 

To develop a more comprehensive strategy, we are taking a new approach in updating the 2023 Flood Plan. While past plans only addressed riverine flooding, the 2023 Flood Plan will also include three additional flood risks: coastal, groundwater, and urban flooding

The 2023 Flood Plan will also ensure those efforts are both financially and physically achievable within their timeframe. In addition to advancing projects that were identified in the 2013 Plan, the 2023 Flood Plan will identify studies needed to inform future capital projects in the 2033 Plan.Flooding photos

2023 Comprehensive Flood Plan Timeline Opens in new window


Brynné Walker
Floodplain Management Planner
(253) 798-4671
[email protected]

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The project is funded by fees from the Surface Water Management Service Charge. On your annual property tax statement, this charge is listed as “Surface Water Management.”
  Using a Pathways Approach

Pierce County is adopting a pathways approach to adaptive management in this 2023 Flood Plan. With uncertainty and limited known information regarding groundwater, coastal and urban flooding, the pathways approach promotes adaptive management. This approach enables adaptation plans to be ongoing by incorporating flexibility and adaptability into the decision-making process. Not all decisions must be made immediately, and options can remain on the table. This prevents decisions being made now that lock decision makers out of other options in the future. 

An adaptation pathway is a decision-making strategy that is made up of a sequence of manageable steps or decision points over time. This approach helps to deal with the deep uncertainty associated with climate change, shifts in public support, politics and policy changes. 

These uncertainties make it difficult to develop specific plans for future flood hazard management projects, particularly when little is known about the hazard, and instead highlight the need for plans that are flexible and responsive to changing conditions over time. 

The concept of adaptation pathways has emerged to address these challenges. The adaptation pathway approach has been successfully applied in many countries around the United States and the world. In this 2023 Flood Plan, three pathways will be prepared for groundwater, coastal and urban flood hazards. 

Watch the video below to learn more about the pathways approach.

Adaptation Pathways for Water Management

The Adaptation Pathways video that was referenced in Introduction to Pathways can be found below. 

  Survey Results from Virtual Scoping Period

Comprehensive Floodplain Survey Results Word CloudTo better understand residents' and stakeholders' experiences with flooding and their preferences for future flood risk reduction projects, Pierce County recently conducted an online survey. A total of 231 people took part in our survey. Thank you to those of you who responded! The virtual scoping period was from Dec. 14, 2020, to Jan. 31, 2021. Your responses will make sure that we are including important information in the study and prioritizing the right values as the work continues.

What did we hear?

  • Most survey participants live or own property in Pierce County.
  • Many of the survey participants have experienced flooding, ranging from low to severe in nature.
  • Most survey participates experienced flooding on their property or their street was flooded.

What will we do with the feedback?

  • The results from this survey help us learn from the community’s experiences with flooding in the County. We will use this information to gather where, when, and what types of flooding (coastal, groundwater, urban, and riverine) happens in the County.
  • We heard that you want to stay connected, so as this plan progresses, we will send periodic updates about progress we will continue to be available for questions.